It wasn't much of a surprise that viewers turned out in droves for the last year's series premiere of Under the Dome. After all, the drama is based on the novel by Stephen King and boasts behind-the-scenes creative talent like creator Brian K. Vaughan (Lost) and even King himself. However, at least some credit probably goes to the drawing power of executive producer Steven Spielberg.
For decades, the iconic filmmaker has lent his Midas touch to a number of film and television projects. In the last decade alone, Spielberg has been involved in small-screen productions like Falling Skies, United States of Tara, Taken and Into the West. While it's true that not all of his television projects manage to find a lasting audience (Smash, Terra Nova), the fact is that a series has that much more of a chance to succeed with Spielberg's name listed in the credits.
CBS will put that to the test when season 2 of Under the Dome premieres this summer, alongside a brand-new Spielberg-produced series. The network has announced that Under the Dome will return on Monday, June 30, following its swift renewal after a heavily-promoted freshman year. Meanwhile, Spielberg's upcoming sci-fi drama Extant - starring Academy Award winner Halle Berry - will debut two days later on Wednesday, July 2.
The decision not to schedule both shows on the same night could ultimately pay off for CBS. At this point, Under the Dome is still riding a wave of buzz, and with Spielberg and Berry attached, Extant practically markets itself. It makes more business sense to use these series to help bolster the ratings of its other programming, at least at first. Besides, the fact that Extant - already one of Screen Rant's most anticipated series of 2014 - centers on an astronaut (Berry) as she returning from a year-long mission could nicely play off of the current popularity of space-related drama stemming from Gravity's phenomenal theatrical run.
As for Under the Dome, it will be interesting to see if the show manages to retain its first-season appeal or if fan enthusiasm has waned since its season finale in September. Given the show's premise (and limited setting), it's quite possible that the show may need to establish more of a big-picture plan. The creative team has already established their willingness to deviate from the source material, which may prove something of a double-edged sword.
Are you looking forward to the return of Under the Dome? Does Extant sound worth your time? Let us know in the comments section below.